Replacing Saline Implants with Silicone Implants
Between 1992 and 2006, the only breast implants available in the United States were saline filled breast implants. Though silicone had been used since 1962, the FDA placed a moratorium on silicone implants in 1992. Starting in 1995 silicone implants were available in the so-called "Adjunct Study," but those were only available to women having revisions, lifts, or who had asymmetry.
Saline implants are virtually unheard of outside of the United States. Silicone implants are now used in over 80% of first time augmentations here in the United States and in nearly all revision breast augmentations. Patients generally prefer silicone primarily because of its softer, squshier, and more natural feel. It also tends to be less round and spherical looking, and has less of a tendency to have folds and ripples. It does not slosh like saline sometimes does. But saline is used today in two primary situations: concerns about cost (they are about half the cost of silicone) and because some patients are fearful of silicone and do not want to do postop follow-up for silicone leakage. While no scientific data supports this fear. But emotional responses are valid, and no woman should even consider putting any kind of implant into her body if she has fears about them.
With enough data to finally demonstrate the safety of silicone implants, in the fall of 2006 silicone implants once again became available. Since that time, a large number of women with saline implants have returned to Dr. Teitelbaum to have their implants replaced with silicone. Sometimes this is becomes the saline implant broke and deflated, thereby requiring a revision. Such patients will sometimes just replace the deflated side with another saline, some will replace both sides with saline, and some will replace both sides with silicone.
There are also patients who do not have broken saline implants who choose to change their implants to silicone for some combination of the following reasons: rippling, firmness, roundness, upper bulge, overall feel, sloshing, fear of a deflation at an inconvenient time that requires an unplanned revision, concern about the age of the implant, or wanting to change size. Weighing the benefits of improving these issues versus risk and cost vary with each patient, and Dr. Teitelbaum has had these discussions with hundreds of patients and can help you decide whether changing your saline implants out for silicone implants.
In general, if you are happy with everything about your breasts, Dr. Teitelbaum will discourage you from replacing your saline breast implants with silicone breast implants; he believes there should be another reason. Together, you and Dr. Teitelbaum can create a plan that best suits your needs and concerns.